The Duel

5 Best Players in Cleveland Pro Sports History

Jason Schandl
The greatest players in Cleveland pro sports history, including LeBron James.
The greatest players in Cleveland pro sports history, including LeBron James. / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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Fans in Cleveland are some of the most passionate in the entire sports world. The city's pro sports franchises have certainly had their rough patches, but there have also been some real bright spots in recent years. And of course, Cleveland has a rich history of success as well.

With that in mind, here are the five greatest players in Cleveland professional sports history.

Best Cleveland Sports Players of All-Time

5. Otto Graham – Cleveland Browns, QB (1946-55)

Otto Graham is one of the best Cleveland Browns of all time.
Otto Graham is one of the best Cleveland Browns of all time. / Vic Stein/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns haven't had much success in the Super Bowl era, but that doesn't change the fact that they dominated the AAFC and NFL for a decade. In 10 years from 1946 to 1955, the Browns made 10 consecutive championship appearances and won seven of them. Otto Graham was the Browns' starting quarterback for each of those seasons, leading the league in passing yards five times and being named NFL MVP three times.

4. Tris Speaker – Cleveland Indians, CF/Manager (1916-26)

Tris Speaker is one of the greatest players in Cleveland Indians history.
Tris Speaker is one of the greatest players in Cleveland Indians history. / Photo File/Getty Images


Tris Speaker had already put together a strong start to his MLB career when he joined the Cleveland Indians in 1916, but he really started to dominate at that point. Across 11 seasons in Cleveland he posted an astonishing .354 batting average — a mark that would rank No. 4 in MLB history if he kept it up over his whole career. The Hall-of-Famer is one of the best outfielders in MLB history.

3. Bob Feller – Cleveland Indians, P (1936-41, 1945-56)

Bob Feller is the greatest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history
Bob Feller is the greatest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history / Kidwiler Collection/Getty Images

Not going back quite as far, Bob Feller made his major league debut with Cleveland when he was only 17 years old, in 1936. He went 5-3 that season, striking out 76 batters and posting a 3.34 ERA. The prodigal pitching talent went on to lead the MLB in strikeouts in four consecutive seasons (1938-41) before he left for military service in World War II, and then he returned to lead the league Ks once again for three consecutive years from 1946-48. He spent his entire pro career in Cleveland, and his 2,581 strikeouts rank No. 30 in MLB history.

2. Jim Brown – Cleveland Browns, FB (1957-65)

Jim Brown is the greatest player in Cleveland Browns history.
Jim Brown is the greatest player in Cleveland Browns history. / Paul Fine/Getty Images

Jim Brown took over as the face of the Browns just one year after Graham left, and he managed to be even better. Brown played nine NFL seasons, and he led the league in rushing yards eight times, in rushing touchdowns five times and was a First-Team All-Pro eight times. Brown is one of only five players in NFL history to win the MVP award at least three times.

1. LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers, SF/PF (2003-10, 2014-18)

LeBron James is the greatest player in Cleveland Sports history.
LeBron James is the greatest player in Cleveland Sports history. / Jason Miller/Getty Images

This one shouldn't surprise anyone. Arguably the greatest player in NBA history, LeBron James broke Cleveland's long championship drought when he led the Cavaliers to an incredible 3-1 series comeback NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors in 2016. His long list of accolades includes his sojourn in Miami, but LeBron won two NBA MVP awards with the Cavs, racking up over 20,000 regular-season points with another 4,573 in the postseason. "King James" is the Cavs' franchise leader in just about every major statistical category, including total points, assists, rebounds, steals and games played, as well as plenty of advanced stats like win shares and player efficiency rating (PER). All of that solidifies his spot on top of this list alone, even before we get into the incredible story of a player who grew up in Akron and went on to lead the Cavs to greatness.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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